Basically, you as having two major options for dealing with this sometimes obnoxious holiday.  You can ignore it or you can redefine it to make it an occasion more to your liking.  Number one is a little hard to pull off, but really not all that difficult.  Don’t watch television, avoid romantic comedies and try to avoid the card section of stores in the few weeks prior to the holiday.  The less attention you pay to the cultural frenzy, the happier you are going to be.

However, if people say Happy Valentine’s Day to you or give you a well-meaning card, accept it with grace and then recycle it or tuck it away in a drawer. If it is from a special friend, you might be able to enjoy it sometime in the future when you are feeling less negative about the holiday.

Redefining the holiday means exactly that—transforming the meaning of this occasion into a broader, more personally relevant framework of understanding.  Many people who are divorced, have recently broken up with a partner, or are living a long-time single lifestyle can still enjoy the week of Valentine’s Day by using it as an opportunity to express love and appreciation for their friends and family members.

Treat it as a time to celebrate your friendships instead of a time only for celebrating your connection with a romantic partner. You can go out to dinner with one or more of your good friends (and it doesn’t have to be on Valentine’s day).  You can give one another cards—or not.  Perhaps just go for a hike or snowshoe and enjoy nature together.  It’s just another opportunity to express your appreciation for your good friends, your nieces and nephews, your parents or other people in your life that you are fond of.

The romantic emphasis given to the holiday by the culture need not have a stranglehold on how you relate to this period of time.  After all, it really is just a brief blip on the calendar and then we are off to the rest of ski season and the harbingers of the spring to come.  Certainly, there are much more enjoyable ways to spend the holiday.

Finally, you also have the option of treating yourself as your own significant other and plan something on your own that you might enjoy during that week.  Head for a long drive, rent a cabin, see a couple of movies, work on a puzzle or cook a favorite meal for yourself.  After all, you really are your most important friend and partner in the long-run and if you aren’t, you can work on making this true by treating yourself with fun and kindness during this time.